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      • Native Language:
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      • Malaysia
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    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 823
    #1

    in or on

    Hi there,
    I read the following explanation of using 'on' and 'in':


    Nouns denoting enclosed spaces, such as a field or a window, take both on and in. The prepositions have their normal meanings with these nouns: on is used when the space is considered as a surface, in when the space is presented as an area:

    The frost made patterns on the window. (surface)
    A face appeared in the window. (area)


    Question:
    I still don't understand what 'area' means here? Can I say: The frost made patterns in the window.


    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 1,153
    #2

    Re: in or on

    Quote Originally Posted by peter123 View Post
    Hi there,
    I read the following explanation of using 'on' and 'in':


    Nouns denoting enclosed spaces, such as a field or a window, take both on and in. The prepositions have their normal meanings with these nouns: on is used when the space is considered as a surface, in when the space is presented as an area:

    The frost made patterns on the window. (surface)
    A face appeared in the window. (area)


    Question:
    I still don't understand what 'area' means here? Can I say: The frost made patterns in the window.
    Area was a poor choice of word since an area is a two dimensional surface. They really mean a three dimension volume which is the surface area x the thickness of the window.

    Frost patterns are on the surface of the window. You can scrap them off with your fingernail.

    A face appeared in the window.

    In this case it looks like the face is inside the window glass. It is similar to looking into a mirror. A mirror appears to have 3 dimensions so we say the reflection is in the mirror

    So to answer your question, no you cannot say -
    The frost made patterns in the window.

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